iPad 5 mini — Ideal reading and note taking everywhere device

«Why don’t you ever look beneath the surface, young man! I laugh because I dare not cry. This is a crazy world and the only way to enjoy it is to treat it as a joke. That doesn’t mean I don’t read and can’t think. I read everything from Giblett to Hoyle, from Sartre to Pauling. I read in the tub, I read on the john, I read in bed, I read when I eat alone, and I would read in my sleep if I could keep my eyes open. Deety, this is proof that Zebbie has never been in my bed: the books downstairs are display; the stuff I read is stacked in my bedroom.»
«The Number of the Beast» by Robert A. Heinlein

I use my tablet every day, (almost) literally (there are a handful of days I am preoccupied). I even use it on my own version of a Shabbat. I don’t go online and don’t use anything that sets the tempo — like music, video or games. But reading is still a thing, and reading on a tablet is a joy. You can easily highlight text and get the highlighted text as text export (e.g., in GoodReader, but pretty much any PDF reader).

Recently I switched to an iPad 5 mini. It’s small, the smallest iPad, but it has just the right size factor. It’s about the size of a page in a paperback, very light-weight (can hold it with one hand while reading) and very fast. Best thing: It works with an Apple Pencil. So yeah, essentially a small notebook (with an app like Notability). It even fits my leg pocket and my coat pocket, great for travelling (when that becomes a thing again). I also did grade theses on it (just use landscape mode, works well).

Similar to my watch, I did castrate the hell out of the tablet. Removed most personalized apps and all possible communication apps, e.g., iCal, Mail, Contacts, etc. are all removed. The primary purpose is note-taking and reading, with reading being Notability (for articles), and GoodReader (for books). I did put about 20 GB of books on it, so that should last for a lifetime or so.

Only downside is … it’s very hard to find a good case. The first one I bought stank to high heavens, the second one is supposed to be watertight, but the opening at the bottom only fits the charger, not the pencil. If it were only charging, I might use the adapter and charge the pencil directly with the power adapter, but there is also creating the connection to the iPad — which can break. Which requires putting the pencil into the port. So, hello … knife-like object, by by watertight cover, hello water-resistant cover.

Ex-watertight case, now only water-resistant. But I prefer this case. What use is a tablet if you cannot carry it with you (almost) anywhere?

Oh, and I did sew a leather cover. Works as well, but wanted something rugged, so I can simply put it in my coat pocket no matter what else is inside and how wet it is outside.

My version of a small leather case. Also works well (and in contrast to the bought leather case, this leather does not smell — and is much more comfortable to touch).

But the tablet itself — so far (couple of weeks), yeah. Highly recommended, even though Apple will likely bring an updated version very soon (it’s always too early to buy).